Thursday, December 31, 2015

Construction & Maintenance Transparency as Life or Death Issue


On 12-26-15 a series of tornados went over North Texas killing 11 people.  The morning of 12-31-15 this was the headline and photo (with modifications since) taken from the Dallas Morning News

Without more accountability and transparency relative to all public school construction and maintenance we can only imagine the potential public loss.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Why is name Mike Miles gone from Dallas Morning News?

In 2012 Dallas ISD had improved enough, and public agency transparency had advanced enough, that how terrible things had been for a very long time in DISD was exposed more than ever. The Dallas Mayor and others fixated on the bad news while failing to adequately study the record setting DISD improvements since 2006.

A tragedy was about to happen! The structure that led to the 2006-2012 progress (shown in record setting improvements in both graduation numbers and statewide test scores through 2013) was replaced with the disaster reflected in these charts.  Both graduation numbers and test scores fell.

Here is the same data with 10 more years of history added:

How long before the people of Dallas, and the leaders of Dallas, admit what has happened?  What is that delay in admitting a severe mistake costing our students?

While this tragedy was unfolding in DISD those supporting the main leader in the dismantling of DISD, Mike Miles, began an active cherry picking campaign of pointing to the achievements of subgroups within the Dallas ISD student body who were making progress.  They were presenting this to the Mayor and the public as evidence of progress.  These defenders of Mike Miles refused to look at the numbers for the entire DISD student body.  They clung to cherry picked subgroups with indications of progress. 

They would not even discuss the meaning of record numbers of PEG campuses within DISD.

The evidence of what happened under the leadership of Mike Miles is increasingly hard for the Dallas Morning News and other Dallas Leaders to ignore.  The name of Mike Miles is slowly disappearing from editorials and articles in the Dallas Morning News. It only remains in the comment sections where the public has not forgotten.  The editorial supporting the Mike Morath nomination for Texas Education Commissioner did not even mention the name Mike Miles!  Since Mike Morath was the strongest supporter of Mike Miles on the DISD Board, this is exceptionally interesting.  What is the Dallas Morning News saying? 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Snapshot: Texas School District Profiles, both charters and ISD's

One of the most powerful collections of data online supporting improved education in Texas is the "Snapshot" collection of data for each public school district in Texas. This listing includes both charter school districts and ISD's and allows for a powerful comparison between them.

Due to the power of this data it may reasonably be feared that attempts will be made to eliminate this data from easy online availability.  Beware!

The data is a year old and not posted until a year after the end of the school year.  The need for absolute accuracy is valued, but we all need to request that a "subject to correction" copy of the data be posted 10 months sooner so that initial data analysis can be done in a more timely manner.

The easiest way to find the web site is to google TEA and Snapshot.  The first hit is

On that page in the left hand column you have access to year by year data for every school district in Texas going back 20 years. As is stated on that page: "From this website up to 98 items of data for each district can be accessed. The items can be browsed or downloaded. Twenty years of information are currently available at this site:2013-142012-132011-122010-112009-102008-092007-082006-072005-062004-052003-042002-032001-022000-011999-20001998-991997-98,1996-971995-96, and 1994-95. Additional text and exhibits are available from this website for 1996-97 through 2001-02 when Snapshot was published as a book. Beginning with 2002-03 a print version of Snapshot is no longer available.

On this page if you click on Snapshot 2014 at the top in the left hand column you will immediately go to:

On that page if you click on  State Totals you will immediately see a powerful comparison of all the charter schools in Texas compared with all the ISD's.

This is only the beginning of the comparisons possible with this data.

Note teacher turnover patterns which are high in charter schools and the generally lower achievement in spite of the cherry picking of students they are able to do.

Many hours can be spent on this site, but it is a powerful weapon in the war to improve our public schools!